T.E.A. Votes to Drop 20-Year-Old Rule Regarding the Teachings of Scientific Theories

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

TEXAS--The State Board of Education voted on Thursday to drop a 20 year old rule that requires teachers to address the "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories.  The standards come from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, for science.  And it's one simple word that's causing all the controversy, weaknesses.

We were able to look at a copy of the existing and proposed new TEKS standards.   The current mandate says students are to "analyze, review and critique scientific information, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strength and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information."

There is concern by some, that focusing on the weaknesses of the theory, would be like promoting creationism.

The proposed new standard reads, the student is expected to "analyze and evaluate scientifical explanations using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing."

School officials we spoke to say there's not much difference between one and the other. 
According to Susan Nix, Coordinator of Science, Health and P.E. for E.C.I.S.D., "If you look at the TEKS that are in place now and the proposed ones, they are almost identical.  I do not see, as an educator, that it is going to change the way that we teach the process of evolution.  It's a gradual change over time in a species.  Anything that's living."

Nix says, based on her educational perspective, when dealing with the theory of evolution, if you teach the TEKS based on how they are worded, it won't cause a stronger teaching of creationism.

The State Board of Education will take a final vote in March, but it is expected they will ratify the actions taken on Thursday.